Fresh from its recent outdoor production of As You Like It, the newly formed Rogue Ensemble Theatre Company is taking a stab this week at another alfresco theater production of a Shakespeare play: Titus Andronicus. And stab is indeed the operative term. Titus is the Bard's most unabashedly gory work: a revenge tragedy in which cycles of violence leave no body part unhacked.
To summon the play's ancient Roman setting, Rogue Ensemble—formed in response to the pandemic crisis, and initially known as Idle Playthings—is mounting its production uptown on the steps of the neoclassical Grant's Tomb. The show runs on Fridays through Sundays through November 1 (except Oct 16–18), with an added Thursday performance on October 29. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish with a suggested donation of $10, and can be booked here.
The Halloween timing is not accidental. The Elizabethan equivalent of a slasher film, Titus Andronicus is best known for the scene in which the title character serves his mortal enemy a pie stuffed with the flesh of her two murdered sons. But that's just the tip of the viceberg in Shakespeare's horror show.
Adapted by Christine Reisig and directed by Joey Nasta, the production features a cast of eight actors, who will wear masks and maintain a distance of six feet from each other and from the audience. Seating is limited; spectators must also be masked and will have their temperatures taken when they arrive.
And bring your own blanket: This outdoor production will likely be chilling in more ways than one.